Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bennett Spring State Park in December

I look forward to the winter catch and release program at the Missouri state parks. The BWO Mayflies emerge late morning with dry fly action from noon to 2 PM. I have targeted these insects for several years and understand them a little more every year. If the water above the dam is left undisturbed the trout will move into the shallow water near the slough where the aquatic plants grow. The mayflies will emerge from this area in moderate numbers. The trout will set up in favorite spot to take the duns. A #18 or #20 fly will usually work to take these trout. After they have been caught a few times; they become more particular giving chase often refusing my fly. All in view with polarized sunglasses and high anticipation. This is one of the few places in the Ozarks with the opportunity to fish a dry fly for trout. Plan a day to give it a try. Be sure to dress warm.

Monday Nov 30: I called Frank Moran on Saturday. The weather looked good for Monday with moderate temperatures. I drove by at 10 AM on Monday and met Frank at his home. We drove on to Bennett Spring and arrived a little after 11 AM. There were a few fishermen fishing the area where Frank and I planned to fish. We did not see much activity on the water or the fishermen. We walked and started near the dam and worked our way upstream. It was afternoon before we started to see duns on water. My fly was a near enough to take a few trout, with many of the trout taking it short. I missed three fish for every one hooked. Frank and I fished until 4 PM, with the sound of the horn telling us to quit for the day.

Saturday Dec 5: I returned to Bennett Spring and fished the same area as the last trip. There were more fishermen this day, it’s Saturday…. Imagine that. There was a full sun on the water with light variable winds. I decided to use 8X tippet instead of the typical 6X, since the sun was so bright. Fishermen wading through the shallow waters were constantly disturbing the trout. Many fishermen do not realize the trout feed in shallow water when there is a hatch. Many of the trout moved to mid-stream to shelter themselves from all of the movement. The duns continued to be seen until 3 PM with only a few taken by trout. I managed ten trout with less interest for the #20 BWO fly. I should find another day other than Saturday to fish. …Too many people.

Friday Dec 11: It had been cold for several days with the temperatures dipping into the twenties. I drove into the park to find two fellows fishing in the handicap hole above the New Holland dam. The waters above the dam left alone, no other fishermen in sight. This continued through out the day. I had the waters totally to myself. Again, I started at the dam and fished my way up stream.

The morning started cool and warmed in the afternoon. The sun was in my eyes most of the day and probably made it difficult for the trout to see my fly. There was a hatch of BWO that came on schedule. The trout moved into the shallow water. I still had a difficult time getting the trout to take my fly. It seems with the bright sun on the water, the trout had trouble seeing. For the first four hours, I managed six trout. I decided to walk back to the dam. I was looking for pods of trout and if none were seen, move below the dam to fish. As I approached the dam, I could see many trout up and in position. The sun was below the trees, the water was shielded from the light and the trout were ready to feed. Every time the fly hit the water there was interest. The fly even lost its tail and it continued to be used with many takes. An eagle flew up stream at 3:30 PM and flew over me thirty feet above my head. I was still the only one fishing with a few fellows below the dam, fishing near the bridge. The last hour was a delight and convinced me that the BWO fly I tie and use was near enough to fool trout.

Thought for the day: The problem was finding a place with diminished light. I have fished this area on bright sunny days, with the trout looking into the sun. It is difficult to find a place to present the fly to the fish in these conditions. The game is presenting the fly without spooking the trout. I look forward to the next cloudy day.

Dec 28: This is my last day this to fish for 2009. My daughter Jenn had planned to fish with me but the cold weather cooled her enthusiasm to fish. She and her husband Brent stayed in Springfield spending the afternoon at a movie theater with Ann.

The day started over-cast but the sun did peek through the clouds in the afternoon. There was a fog on the water, making it difficult to see the fly. The trout have wised to my fly, with many short strikes. The trout will approach the fly quickly, only to turn away at the take. There were few fishermen about making their move down stream, but for the most part I had the waters in front of me to present my dry fly.

The eagle did make a pass over head late afternoon, with deer and turkeys seen on the trip home.

My plan is to fish at the state parks for the next six weeks for the catch and release season and return to Bull Shoals in March.

Monday, December 14, 2009

November Steelhead fishing in Michigan

I have for almost thirty years traveled to Michigan in November to fish with my father and brother. We go to the surf on Lake Michigan to fish for Steelhead on the beach. We have over the years, fished the beaches of St. Joseph, Ludington and Manistee with some days producing many fish. The steelhead will migrate to the mouth of the streams and make sporadic runs up the stream to spawn in the spring. This year was no different for me with a deliberate change in time to fish. I decided to delay may trip two weeks and fish later in November. The weather for the first week of November has been very mild for the past several years. I had hoped better fishing later in the month. The fishing was, lacking a better word, poor.

Tuesday Nov 17 Dad and I drove an hour from his place near Battle Creek to St. Joseph MI. There was a brisk east wind with some wave action on the surf. We fished the north side of the pier. The beach was full of leaf debris piled several feet high on the beach with many leave in the water fouling the lines. We did not catch any fish and called it a day after 2 PM.

Wednesday Nov 18: We returned to the St. Joseph beach and fished the south side. The wind continued to be out of the east. The water was cleaner with a cleaner beach. Again, no fish caught.

Thursday Nov 19: Dad and I picked Kirk up at 5 AM. We decided to drive north and fish the beaches of Ludington. The area has changed with more development on the beach. We fished a familiar park on the south side of the pier. The day was overcast with a variable wind. We manage to pick up a small jack salmon (Coho) and a small rainbow. We stayed until 3 PM and drove back to Baldwin to eat before returning to Battle Creek.

I need to rethink the fishing in November and should consider returning the first full week in November.

October two trips were made to Montauk State Park

Oct 15: My son Sean met me in the parking lot at Wal-Mart in Rolla. We rode together to Montauk. We were geared up and in the water before noon. We had a time constraint and had to leave the park by 5 PM. We had to be at Alex’s Pizza in Rolla to meet a friend of Sean’s for dinner. The water at the park was several inches high with a little color. We found the dry flies to be effective and manage to catch a few rainbows.

Oct 24: My daughter and son in-law (Jenn and Brent) met me at the parking lot at Wal-Mart in Rolla. They drove down from St. Louis. They piled into the truck with me and we drove to Montauk. The day was sunny and bright with very mild temperatures. There were many fishermen this day on the stream and walking the banks, constantly jumping in front of us. We took our time fishing up stream with dry flies and waiting for the water to rest with all of the jigs and lines frothing the water from the many spinning outfits from other fishermen. There were not many fish caught this day due impart to all of the commotion and activity. Needless to say we enjoyed our day together at the park.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sept 2009 Alaska Trip

There are times in one’s life when someone gives good advice; you hear it and take it to heart. This happened to me, almost a decade ago. Don Pennington told me after a good day of fishing for white bass in the spring of 1999; I should not wait for retirement to do the things I have a passion for. He said, you enjoy fishing and you should find and take time tomorrow or next week to fish. Don said if you wait until sixty-five to the find time, you may find you health is failing, with more time spent in a doctor’s office than on the water.

This was the thought that came to me last March when Rod Pennington, Don’s son asked me if I would like to take a fishing trip to Kodiak Island in the state of Alaska. Rod took a trip there last year with his son and they had an outstanding time. They fished for Sockeye at the Saltery Lake Lodge and observed grizzly bear up close and personal.

Our party from Springfield this year included Jim Scheve, his son Jacob, Rod and me.

We left for Alaska on Sept 18 and flew to Kodiak Island with no problems or delays. We stayed in the city of Kodiak, with a population of 5690. The harbor moors 1200 boats with several of them seen on TV’s “The Most Deadliest Catch” which are the Time Bandit and Cornelia Marie. We took one day to deep-sea fish aboard the “U-Rascal” with Capt Chris Fiala. The trip started pleasant with a mild temperature morning, by noon a front moved in with a fog. Needless to say we caught a variety of fish including halibut, salmon, rockfish and more.

The next day, we drove thirty-six miles to Saltery Lake Lodge. The plane was grounded due to poor weather. We spent seven days at the lodge with many fish (Coho, arctic char, rainbow and Dolly Varden) caught, frequent bear encounters and good fellowship. Hopefully, Rod and I will be able to provide the club with a program. The trip was well worth the time and effort. If you have an interest to try an Alaskan fishing trip, Rod or I would be more than happy to tell you more…

Tight lines... Kim Schultz

The following is a daily log of daily events while in Alaska...

Thanks to Rod Pennington and Joe Digiacomo for permission to use their photos

9/18/2009 (Friday)

10 AM: Ann drove me to the Springfield/Branson airport, without knowing the new terminal was across the way. The old terminal was vacant and left abandoned when we pulled up; we quickly found directions and drove to the new facility. Ann dropped me off and I finally found Jim, Rod and Jacob in the boarding area. We departed for Dallas at 1120 AM, then on to Anchorage, AK. We spent a few a few hours in Anchorage before flying on to Kodiak Island. We arrived in the City of Kodiak shortly after 11 PM, Rod called the Best Western Motel for a lift where we were to stay for two nights. We checked in, moved our gear into the rooms and in bed before midnight. The alarm was set for 6 AM.

9/19/2009 (Saturday)

6 AM: We woke and dressed for breakfast before going to the docks for a deep-sea outing. After, breakfast, we returned to our rooms to get our gear for the day. Across the street from the Best Western, we walked to one of the harbors mooring several hundred boats and our boat for the day. At 7:45 AM, we boarded the vessel “U-Rascal” with Capt. Chris Fiala our host and captain. The first person we met on the boat was Carey. We introduced ourselves and purchased a seven-day out-of state fishing license.

Three other fishermen joined us. They were from Zurich, Switzerland. Hans and his party have been coming to Alaska for the past twenty-five years and the past eight years coming to Kodiak Island for a two-week outing camping and fishing the road system. They will store their gear in the City of Kodiak for the year until their annual return.

8:30 AM: We left the dock and motored over near the fish processing plant in the harbor to catch some herring on the hook; this would be our halibut bait. After filling a bucket, we cruised out of the harbor to the mouth of the bay, dropping the downriggers hoping to find a few King Salmon.

The day was mild with a blue sky and above normal temperatures. The seas were for the most part calm in the morning with a few rollers making it known a storm was near. Off to the west, a blanket of fog was present, which covered us by noon. Unfortunately, the fish were not very cooperative in the morning, with the catching improving in the afternoon. There were several long runs with 15-20 minutes stops before moving on. We had one sighting of a killer whale; we saw only the large dorsal fin cutting along the surface. We had three sightings of whales (humpbacks) blowing water into the air and several sea lions with one very large beast near the disposal tube from the fish processing plant. There were many birds including the puffins.

The other mate was Mahoto a young man from Maine; he grew up fishing the Atlantic coast and now fishes the Pacific. He recently earned his captain license and hopes to have his own boat.

The winds picked up in the afternoon and with the fog, the temperatures dropped. The seas became choppy and the boat rocked even more. Jake was the only one from our party who did not heave hoe over the rails; we blamed it on the breakfast. This was my first episode of seasickness.

The boat did not return to port until 8 PM, Chris was disappointed with the morning fishing and kept pushing until we filled the icebox with fish. He explained of his disappointment in the morning and did not want to return until a few king salmon were caught. We picked up a few King salmon before dark trolling the edge of the harbor. We stopped at the fish processing plant to unload the icebox full of fish. We each brought back a fifty-pound box of fish from this trip, in which we stopped to pick up the following week before returning to Springfield.

Below is the tally of fish caught for the day

King Salmon 3

Halibut 9

Ling Cod 6

Rockfish 42

Yellow eye 1

Sole Cod 2

Silver Salmon 1

We left the boat at 8:30 PM and returned to the Best Western. We made it to the dining table by 9 PM and turned in before 10 PM. There was a message from Doyle from the Saltery Lodge letting us know he would pick us up the next morning at 9:30 AM.

9/20/2009 (Sunday)

We woke at 8 AM. The rains moved in overnight with 30 mpr winds. Jim called to say Doyle said we would be driving to the lodge instead of flying since the high winds grounded the planes for the day. We ate our breakfast in the motel, returned to our rooms, repacked and met our party in the lobby at 9:30 AM. Bill Franklin and Doyle Hatfield met us; each drove a suburban from the 1980’s. They have twenty-two suburbans in their fleet, which Bill works on over the winter. Doyle said these are the best vehicles for the tough road conditions in Kodiak.

We left the motel shortly after 9:30 for a three-hour drive to the lodge. The first eighteen miles was traveled on asphalt road, which is part of the hundred-mile road system on the island. Doyle said the road was blacktopped five years ago and was in very good condition. After the first eighteen miles, at the bridge that crosses the American River, we took a right. There were a dozen vehicles parked off the trail with bullet holes and broken glass. Several of the cars were burnt to the ground. We were told these vehicles had broken down on this road, hauled out and left for target practice. First, let me say my definition of a rough road has been redefined. I have never been on such an obstacle course with jagged rocks, swollen streams and water filled mud holes beyond the axles. The road, or in reality should be called a trail was blazed during WWII for the movement of supplies on the other side of the island in case of a Japanese attack. Needless to say that was probably the last time a bulldozer blade touched this trail. Bill and Doyle have a tractor at the lodge, which was used to repair any washouts after severe floods. We spent the 2.5 hours bouncing and tumbling about in the back seat. I thought for this trip; people would pay good money just for the extreme ride. There was one flat tire, which was changed within five minutes. One could tell from the teamwork several tires had been changed over the years.

12:30 PM: We made it to the Saltery Lake Lodge. We were sent to the lodge with the staff unloading the gear into the cabins. We had a fine lunch and made our introductions with the staff and other guest. Scott Poffenberger and Joe DiGiacomo were from the Cleveland area. Scott had been at this lodge five times and this was Joe’s first trip. Joe Solakian is from Milwaukee WI, he has been a guide at this lodge for many years. Ben Walsmith is from Des Moines IA, he has been guiding here from several years. The camp manager was Nathan Mullet, he and his wife Sheila did the cooking and kept up with the camp duties.

2 PM: We went to our cabins to find our gear and slip into our waders. Ben was our guide for the week and he walked us down the water soaked trail to the Saltery Creek. It had rained hard several days past and the stream was high and turbid. There were other fishermen from another lodge (Saltery Cove Lodge) and a few people that came in by ATV to fish, parked along the banks. Ben took us farther down stream, which he called the third hole. I tied on a #4 purple marabou cone-head leach pattern and hooked up a Coho (silver salmon) within ten minutes that was released with another fish on the very next cast. Jim was down stream of me and he was having many hook ups. We fished until 6 PM and returned to the lodge. At 6:30 PM we had our evening meal; corn beef, salmon, green beans, potatoes au’ gratin and dessert.

That evening after dinner we took a short walk to a small stream near our cabins named Lake Creek. The small creek flowed into the lake with several other small streams around this small one hundred acre lake. The stream was up with some chalk cloudiness where we tried a few patterns with no luck. Thirty minutes later, Jim spotted two bear cubs sneaking up behind us. Once the two bears saw us they retreated and returned to the underbrush.

The lodge is on Saltery Lake with mountains on three sides. The mountain that is on the opposite side of the lodge is called Bread Loaf Mountain, for obvious reasons. There are several springs and small streams flowing into the lake, which are the nurseries for the small fry that come from the creeks. There is a stream below the lake that flows for two miles to an estuary entering Ugak Bay. We returned to our cabins and turned in at 9:30 PM.

9/21/09 (Monday)

7:30 AM: We heard the bell and made breakfast. The sky was clear with a variety of colors seen on the mountains. We were interrupted during breakfast, “Kumon” a four-year-old bear came within view. He was in the garden sniffing the air and finally moved on after fifteen minutes. We pulled on our waders and met Ben at 8:30 AM. We returned to the same area with Jacob and me fishing the first hole, and Jim and Rod returning to the third hole. The water was slightly cloudy, clearer, than the day before. Jacob did well catching eight or more Dolly Varden, a native char in Alaska. I caught a dolly measuring twenty-three inches and released two silver salmon. An hour had passed when we had another bear encounter. It was on the opposite bank walking upstream and was directly across the stream from us. The bear continued up stream before swimming across the stream to our side of the river. He continued to walk into the brush and out of sight.

12:00 PM: We broke for lunch.

After lunch, Ben took us farther downstream on the Saltery Creek, hoping to find cleaner water. Ben said we should find rainbows and Dolly Varden willing to take an egg pattern or beads. My first hook-up was a silver salmon. A short time later we saw four buffalo looking at us from below. The bison soon turned and swam across the stream, not to be seen again. There was plenty of Dolly Varden with Jake catching and releasing 25+. Rod found a hole taking fifteen Dolly Varden in a short time. We caught several rainbows measuring eighteen inches, two Coho(s) taking eggs patterns and a plethora of Dolly Varden; we caught just short of a hundred fish. The stream was full of pink salmon waiting to die or waiting for the bears and eagles.

5:30 PM: We returned to the lodge and cleaned up a little bit. We took time to look at a pair of bald eagles across the lake with binoculars to get a better view.

6:30 PM: Dinner was served with grilled chicken, corn, homemade bread, mashed potatoes and dessert. The staff really took care of us. After dinner, we went to Lake Creek for evening fishing. The bead fly worked well for the arctic char, taking two measuring twenty-four inches. Jake snagged three sock-eyes on a light fly rod. We caught 20+ fish for the last hour of the day. At sunset, the fish stop biting. We did have another bear sighting just upstream. I made a loud cough and the bear turned away from us and he moved on towards the cabins. We stopped fishing at 8:30 PM, returned to the lodge to write some notes. I stayed there until 9:30 PM before turning in for the night. The night was cool; a clear sky with many stars in view. There will be frost in the morning.

9/22/09 Tuesday

06:30 AM: We woke to temperatures in the mid-twenties with this areas first killer frost. The ground and hills were covered in a white frost resembling snow with a wispy fog dancing on the lake. Rod, Jim and Jacob went ahead of me to the lodge for breakfast. When I got around and started for the lodge, I realized the boots and waders were frozen stiff as they hung from hooks outside of the cabin. The boots were stiff and as hard as a rock. I grabbed my stuff and placed the boots and waders next to my bed to thaw and made my way to the lodge for breakfast.

After breakfast, we returned to the cabin. Jim, Rod and Jacob took the waders and boots inside to thaw. Jacob came up with the idea to defrost the boots in the shower using hot water. It was a short delay but we finally geared up and met Ben for our third day of fishing.

We returned to familiar waters with Rod, Jacob and Jim starting in the third hole. There were several fishermen already fishing the first hole. Jim and Rod found fish within a few casts with several doubles hook-ups and catching a limit within a short time. There was a bear that walked out of the alder brush and in front of Ben, blocking the road. Rod was able to get a few photos of the bear. Ben had to use the blast horn from the can air that he carried, using it several times to coax the bear into the bush. Jim and Rod reported catching fifteen Coho salmon each. Jacob and I fished farther up stream finding less salmon but considered the morning very productive. The water had cleared with the level dropping a little. Later in the morning Jacob moved down stream to find the Dolly Varden to be cooperative. We broke for lunch at noon. On our walk out we saw a dozen fishermen along the banks coming in by ATV.

After lunch, Ben decided we should try Lake Creek; a small stream near the lodge, where the sock-eye salmon spawn. We started at the mouth of the stream near the lake and fished our way upstream. The stream was full of sock-eye past their prime, with most of the fish spawned out. The salmon were in their final stage of life. We were not fishing for the sock-eye salmon; instead we were targeting the Dolly Varden. We used beads and egg pattern to catch the Dolly Varden. We fished for three hours and caught a plethora of these char, related to brook trout. There were several signs of bears with torn fresh fish along the bank. The water level had been dropping, exposing the salmon; making for easy fishing for the bear.

We fished until 5:30 PM and returned to the lodge. I decided to walk down to the lake and practice casting the spey rod at the mouth of Lake Creek. Fifteen minutes later, with my eyes on the fly line and not paying attention to the surroundings, a bear came in behind me. My first warning was a loud splash. I looked upstream 20 yards and saw a bear in the water with a salmon in his mouth. I call that up close and personal.

Back at the lodge, another guest came in by plane. Taft Ring is a regular to the lodge. He is a retired army Colonel and spends much of his time travelling the world fishing. He was stuck in Anchorage for several days before making his arrival.

6:30 PM: The supper bell rang. There were many stories with the general conversation on the days fishing and general sport related topics. Everyone was tired after supper, too worn out to fish until dark. Several of us sat in the lodge telling stories. A bear with two cubs appeared on the other side of the lake. We watched them for twenty minutes, with the mother bear catching fish from the lakeshore. The cubs would run to her to see what she had for them to eat.

8:00 PM: Rod left for the evening; he said to shower and clean up. He retired and in beds a short time later was Jim and Jake. It is 8:30. The lodge is quiet. Nathan delivers some wood for the stove and sits to read for a while. I decided to retire early and was in bed before 9 PM.

9/23/09 (Wednesday)

Today, the weather continues to be mild and sunny. We started fishing after breakfast in Saltery Creek, in the areas familiar to us. The guest from Saltery Cove Lodge and the people coming in by ATV were not present today. Jim and Rod started fishing in their favorite hole and did pick up a few silvers. I took the spey rod and had my opportunities but failed to set the hook on the few takes from the silver salmon. We return to the lodge for lunch. After lunch, Ben thought it would be a good idea to go down stream to the estuary and see Ugak Bay. There would be a variety of birds and harbor seals for us to get up close and personal. We saw an assortment of water foul with a pair of golden eagles making a few passes overhead. The harbor seals were curious and would come within a few yards of us. One of the tests for migrating salmon is getting past these sea hunters. Several of the salmon we caught near the lodge had slashes from seal attacks. The high tide was scheduled to peak at 5 PM, and we could see the water line creeping on shore. The water was wadable as we made our way across the estuary and pushed on to the sea wall. The beach was covered in black sand, with driftwood and other debris washed up. There were imprints of a bear and cub tracks in the sand, probably from an early morning jaunt. Fortunately, we did not see any bears on the beach. This area is home of the bison, the ranch of the one-hundred fifty plus herd could be seen up on the hills away from the beach; with none seen today. But, there was a wild horse grazing along the tree edge. The sun had a distinct ring around it, a warning of a pending rain or storm.

We stopped at several lower holes on Saltery creek with a few Dolly Varden caught and released. With another day passed, it was time for us to rest.

9/24/09 (Thursday)

The rain came in over night. We had breakfast and returned to familiar waters on Saltery Creek near the lodge. The rain fell all day, with the wind out of the north. The mountains in view received a snow dusting. The temperature cooled to the lower forties. I did catch a few small Dolly Varden in the lower hole and picked up a viable sock-eye salmon.

After lunch, Ben thought we should take the boat and go to the other side of the lake. There is a trough along the opposite shore that usually holds fish. So, we loaded the boat with two of us at time crossing the small lake. The silvers were jumping and Jacob finally hooked a silver salmon after some time. We spent several hours fishing this water before retreating and going back to the other side. I fished the lake waters above the creek and had moderate success missing a few and hooking and landing several Coho. We did have another bear encounter at the lake with the bear sneaking up behind us. The bear heard us and retreated into the bush without incident.

We were interrupted at supper with two cubs coming into view and frolicking on the front lawn of the lodge. Mama bear hung back in the tall grass for a while before coming out and taking the cubs to the water’s edge. We saw the three of them again in the water swimming to the other side of the lake. In a short time, they were playing and walking the shoreline on the opposite shore. The cubs were playing rough in the water. Mama bear went out into the water to retrieve a salmon. The cubs came out of the water and on shore to tear into the fish, taking a break from playing.

9/25/09 (Friday)

The sky was overcast with a sprinkle in the air. After breakfast, we returned to the waters we fished all week, Saltery Creek. I returned to the lake water above the creek, in places I fished the day before. The silver salmon were jumping out of the water in the trough water on the opposite side of the lake. I was able to wade one-third the way across and throw a yellow and white buck tail streamer using a full sink line. The fly took few Coho before 10 AM. I was looking up stream and saw a sow and two cubs at the mouth of Lake Creek. The fourth silver salmon caught on the large buck-tail fly was a large male. I played the fish for fifteen minutes and was able to get it within sight. I pulled the fish towards me, on my knees to take the hook out of his mouth, with the intension of releasing it. The salmon suddenly bolted to deep water, with the reel spinning out of control, I tried to palm the rim to slow it down when the fish broke off the 12 lb. tippet. Ben stood on the bank watching and laughing at the display of releasing a fish before it is ready. I was sorry to have lost the fly. I put on a new tippet and fly and walked back into the water, only to find the reel was toast. The bushing had burned out and the reel was seized and locked in place. I worked on the reel for a few minutes and concluded the reel was finished for the day. I stepped out of the water to find Ben to let him know I was leaving for a few minutes. Rod and Jacob were fishing the 1st hole finding and hooking a few Coho. Rod broke off two, pulled a hook out of three and landed a 14# male silver salmon. I walked back to the lodge and to find another reel and change out the sink line.

11 AM: I returned to the water at 11:30 Bill flew over me with his blue beaver airplane and landed behind me on the lake.

11:45 AM: Ben, Rod and Jacob passed me saying they were going back for lunch. I wanted one more fish before quitting. A few minutes past noon, I hooked another female and released her. I did not realize at the time that would be my last fish for this trip. I retrieved my line and walked back to the lodge for lunch.

Back at the lodge, Bill was concerned for the weather. It was pointed out; our flight departure on Saturday was at 11 AM, with little time to work with to get to the plane on time. We decided to fly out after lunch and stay in the City of Kodiak for the night.

1:30 PM: Jim and Jacob flew out first; with the plane being so small only the pilot and two passengers with luggage could make a single trip.

2:30 PM: Bill returned to fly Rod and me out. The gear was stowed and we found our places in the small plane. Bill went to the other side of the lake to find the head wind, revved the engine to lift us off the water. The sky was over casted but the clouds were high enough for us to see the land features, rivers, lakes and mountains. A few of the mountains on Kodiak Island reach 3400 ft. It was a twenty-minute fight to the City of Kodiak. We landed on a small lake that is primarily used as a runway for the beavers. After touching down, Bill idled to place on the lake were he resides and secured the plane. Doyle was there to take our gear and take us to the Best Western. Before dropping us off at the hotel, we stopped at the fish processing plant to pay for the cleaning and packaging. We had two hundred and seventy pounds of fish to take back to Springfield. Doyle dropped us off at the Best Western and we met with Jim and Jacob. We decided to walk the city and found Henry’s restaurant, a place Rod had been to before. I had some halibut chowder that was excellent. We returned to the hotel and made a visit to the lounge to get an update on the college football games. We turned in early.

9/26/09 Saturday

9:30 AM: We left the hotel and found a lift to the airport. At 10 AM, the fish processing plant delivered our fish and we checked them through to Springfield. We left the island at 11:30 for a flight to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. We had an eight-hour lay over. I was able to get hold of a nephew (Trevor) and meet him for lunch. He moved to Homer in July and moved in with some friends from college. He decided to give Alaska a try since his home of Michigan is so depressed with the current economy. We taxied to a nearby restaurant and had lunch and talked for several hours before returning to the airport.

8:00 PM: We left Anchorage for a flight to Dallas. With a three-hour time change and a six-hour flight we arrive in Dallas early in the morning.

11:00 AM: Finally, we return to Springfield, after twenty-four hours of flying, waiting in airport terminals and just waiting. It was good to get back to Springfield.

A big thanks to the Bill and Doyle and the Staff at Saltery Lake Lodge for an outstanding trip.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

August Fishing


Jim Scheve and I have fished together for the past four years. We usually make plans the first of the year getting our dates coordinated to be off from work to fish three or four times a year. Our fishing destinations are the Eleven Point River below Greer spring and the North Fork between Kelly Ford and Blair Bridge. The past three trips were met with rain and this trip was no exception. We modified our plans for this trip several times, but finally decided to fish the Eleven Point River for two days, staying one night on a gravel bar. On the third day, fish the North Fork with Jim’s son (Jake) driving from Springfield meeting us for the day. The following is a log of the day’s events.

Aug 4 (Tuesday): Jim picked me up at 6 AM and drove two and half hours to Greer on the Eleven Point were we rented a canoe from Richard’s Canoe Rental for two days. We were in the water by 9:30. The water was up for this time of the year with some color from a rain last Thursday. I decided to fish the right side at the first island, with Jim taking the canoe below the island on the left.

The first promising waters left my fly struck to debris on the bottom and it broke my leader at the loop-to-loop connection to the fly line. I looked for more leader material in my pack only to find the spool empty. So, I had to retrieve my line onto my reel and walk down stream to find the canoe with my gear. It took 40 minutes to find Jim, with a walk through the thicket on the island, wading around a spring and crossing a strong current; all lost time fishing. This was the first of several calamities. I found extra monofilament in my bag stowed away on the deck of
the canoe. I fixed the leader and went back to the water. Jim and I continued down stream picking up a few rainbows in the riffles. There were numerous groups of people on the water; most were there for the float and scenery. Later that morning, we stopped to fish another favorite spot only to find it occupied by a group. We took our time up stream waiting for them to continue their journey down stream. It was unfortunate for us another group moved in to fish this stretch of water. Jim and I decided to move down stream. As we prepared to move, I dropped my paddle and it went down stream in the fast moving seam. The paddle went around the bend into a pile of brush and became lodged in the tangled limbs and branches. The current was too strong for Jim to maneuver the canoe close enough to retrieve the paddle, so we coasted down stream until Jim could put us on the bank. I then crawled, snaked, jumped through the thicket on the bank working my way up stream to find the paddle on the opposite bank. When it was spotted, I lowered myself into the water after measuring the depth and finding it to be safe to slide into the water and taking the paddle from tangled debris. The day passed with the heat becoming more intense; it was predicted to hit the lower 90’s.

It was after 4 PM, we decided to find our spot to camp for the night. It was the usual spot below Little Hurricane Creek, a gravel bar four feet above the stream. There was shade, a flat area to pitch a tent; a good place to camp. We decide to wait to set the tents since it was so hot. I took the fly rod and began to work the fly down stream. A few trout were taken from the rushing water and a place that was an old mill or retaining structure to hold back water for the logging operation that took place here one hundred plus years ago. I worked a little farther down stream to a deep hole that is probably another spring. It was almost six PM when I looked at my watch and knew it was time to get back to camp. I usually walk up stream retracing the path I fished, but decided to save some time and energy by walking the woods back to the camp, which was upstream. It was to my surprise that the Ozark trail was close to the stream going up the side of the hill. The trail is used by hikers and is a designated horse trail. The walk back to camp was a breeze.

It was time to set up camp and prepared dinner. The menu was walleye, fried potatoes and green beans. After dinner, the pans were clean gear put away. Then I discovered my sunglasses were without a screw. The bow fell from the frame. The glasses were not functional, but I did find a safety pin that did worked holding all the parts together. The glasses worked for the rest of the trip.

We went back to water at sunset fishing near our camp and caught a few more trout. I managed the best rainbow of the day on my last cast of the day. We totaled twenty rainbows for the day; we have had better days in the past and a few days’ worst, were we were not able to find a single trout.

We started a campfire and sat around it until 9 PM. The sun was out of view with a full moon rising. The skies began to fade to darkness with a fog forming over the surface of the river. We called it a day and retired to our tents for a peaceful night of sleep.

The fog on water at sunset

Unfortunately as soon as I was on my sleeping bag, a flash was seen without thunder. Five minutes later another flash without thunder; I though maybe Jim was out and about with his flashlight. It was not to be. Soon, the flashes of lightening are more frequent and brighter. I look to the sky to see a full moon with the sky overhead clear with stars looking back. The storms appeared to be in the northeast, by most calculations not a problem. The storm should move to the east and slip past us. But this night, the storm moved to the southwest. It was a slow moving system and did not pass over our camp until 1 AM with some intense rain. The storm continued to move to the southeast with our sleep uneasy and concerns for a rising stream. Jim did comment the next day, it was the most severe weather he had to endure while huddled in a sleeping bag with a tent for shelter.

Aug 5 (Wednesday): All was calm by 2 AM. At 5 AM, we woke to the sounds of a deer splashing in the stream attempting to cross the nearby shoal. It probably picked up our scent, changed its mind about crossing and swam down stream past our tents. Later that morning we saw a pack of dogs probably giving chase. The morning was overcast, with a wispy fog over the water. We prepared breakfast at 8 AM. After our meal, we broke camp and packed our gear in the canoe. We had 2 miles to Turner Mill access, our takeout after a full day of fishing. We picked up a few fish on our travels down stream. Jim had a large fish on near a large boulder that striped his line to the backing and the fish moved up stream to find a place on the bottom to snag the line and break off. Over the years, Jim has had this same scenario repeat itself on the same Hole
maybe/probably a different fish on a different day. He has given it some thought and next time he hooks up, plans to pull hard trying to move the fish to another part of the stream to fight; only time will tell if he is successful.

Jim hanging on to large fish!!!

On our float beyond Mary Decker shoal, we came across a cottonmouth snake in the water, it made a bolt towards us as we passed by in the canoe. No one was harmed. We finished the day at Turner Mill access. We released fifteen rainbow trout and one goggle-eye nearly eleven inches. Richard’s Canoe rental met us at the access and took us back to Jim’s vehicle. It was almost 6 PM; we drove down Hwy 19 to Alton, then Hwy 160 through West Plains to Blair Bridge on the North Fork to camp at Pettit’s campground for the night. We arrived before 7:30 PM; there was plenty of light to set camp. There was wood left from the previous campers and we used it to build a fire. It was a peaceful night.

Aug 6 (Thursday): We were up by 6 AM, made the coffee and had breakfast finished before 7 AM. Jake arrived from Springfield at 7:30 AM. At 8 AM, we drove to Pettit’s office and rented a canoe for the day. We were dropped of at Kelly ford up stream from Blair Bridge. This trip of five miles usually requires a full day of fishing. At Kelly ford, we will take time going up stream to fish the bluff area for small-mouth bass and goggle-eye. Jim and Jake took the canoe and paddled up stream to the riffle below rainbow spring. Jim’s first trout of the day was a 17.5 inch rainbow with a few small trout caught. I manage to find a single spot for goggle-eye and took six in a short time with two small-mouths. An hour later, Jim and Jake caught up with me as I had already worked down stream. There were a few more trout taken. In a short time I hooked up with a sixteen inch rainbow. Later, Jake found several sixteen inch rainbows setting up in front of the
shoals. There were several floating enthusiast on the water and a stream team group of seven canoes picking up trash in and on the banks of the stream. Pettit’s canoe was gracious to allow them to camp and use the canoes for two days of clean-up at no charge. Jake finished the day, with eight rainbows trout, a few small-mouths and a sucker, Jim landed the largest trout measuring over seventeen inches and totaled six rainbow trout. I caught three rainbow trout, three small-mouths and six goggle-eyes for the day. It was after 5 PM, when we returned the canoe to Blair Bridge.

Jim and I spent the past three days on a river and we were exhausted. The numbers of fish caught was not outstanding but satisfying. The time on the water was great with a few memories taken from our adventures. Our next trip together will be Kodiak Alaska in September. My guess there will be a few stories from that adventure.

Tight lines… Kim

July Fishing


July 1-4: Ann and I spent the first week of July visiting my parents. They live in a small rural community in southern Michigan across the street from Lee Lake, a one-hundred acre lake formed from the last ice age. The lake has a healthy population of blue-gills with the typical assortment of warm water fish; bass, perch, pike and crappie. I had the opportunity to practice with my spey rod from a dock, with aspirations to become a more proficient caster with a long stick. I did fish with my father and he did find a spot for us to catch a few blue-gills with gar pike working the surface within view. We fished for several hours taking and cleaning thirty-two blue-gills and a perch for a fish fry on the 4th of July. The next day, I spent time with my nephew Turner, who is ten years old. We fished the same general vicinity as my dad but did not find as many fish.

July 10: Sean and I had good night of fishing in Taneycomo; we left Springfield after 11 PM and in the water before midnight. We fished the area between #1 and #2 outlets with moderate success. We totaled 40+ trout for the night.

July 14: Sean picked me up after work. I had checked the weather and radar through out the evening and figured the weather would be fine. Sean’s first words to me, did you check the weather. He said Christian County was under a severe thunderstorm warning. As soon as we turned south, lightning could be seen. Before entering the city limits of Ozark the rain fell, pelting our windshield with lightning all around. Sean checked the radar with his I-phone and the storm tracked north and east of Branson. So, we continued our trip and parked the truck in the parking lot at the Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery with one other vehicle in view. While we sat in the truck we saw lightning all around us. Again, we checked the radar on the I-phone and it appeared the storm was to stay north then mover to the southeast; out and away from us for a night of fishing. We slowly slipped into our waders and lined the rods. The lightning was intense in the east, going cloud to cloud with a slight audible sound of thunder. We walked to the waters edge. The fog was thick over the water. The sky over head was patched with clouds with stars in view. At times, the fog would rise with the warm breeze and surround us like a thick blanket, almost suffocating. The flashing from frequent lightning flashes, glowed through the fog. I remembered an old movie depicting a WWI war scene with a solder on a war front; there was a low fog and bombs going off all around. The glow in the fog would light the entire area for an instant. The eerie feeling could be felt on this night. I told Sean, if lightning came from the direction of the dam, we may need to reconsider our time on the water. It was almost 3 AM; another storm was approaching from the west. Again, we checked the I-phone; the storm was near Cassville heading southwest and was on track to miss us to the west. Needless to say another storm was forming in Springfield and on track to hit us in Branson. So, we called it a night at 4 AM with less than twenty trout caught for the night.

July 18: Kevin and I drove to Joplin to attend the annual Shoal Creek Water Festival at the Wildcat Glade Conservation and Audubon Center. We were asked to focus on youth education and the “wonders of water”. Kevin and I set up a booth and tied flies for the youth with a few of the on lookers given the opportunity to sit behind the vise creating their own flies. We were busy most of the day with several of the participants returning for additional lessons and flies. A few individuals asked about casting and we had space behind the booth to help a few with an introduction to the fly rod.

July 27: Sean will move to St. Louis after this weekend. So, his opportunities to fish on short notice with me will come to an end. Sean wanted to return to Taneycomo for another night of trout fishing. On the trip down, there were deer feeding next to the road on Hwy 65. We were in our waders heading to the water when a fox came trotting into the parking lot. I took my flash light with the red laser beam flashed the light in front of him. The fox stopped immediately trying to figure out what the red spot of light was. He laid down for a short time, getting nervous and moved on to the pavilion. There were no other vehicles parked and no other fishermen. We started below #2 outlet and worked our streamers going down stream. After 2 AM, Sean decided to take a break and visit the outstanding facilities. He then walked upstream to the waters between #1 and #2. He was able to get one trout after anther in a short time. I was still picking up a few trout here and there for the night. Sean an hour later caught up with me and was excited with his success upstream. He wanted to return, but I suggested to keep moving down stream to the area above the big hole. Sean led the way and he was catching one trout after another, he was catching three trout to my one. After 4:30 AM, geese in a single file swam behind us without a sound. They were evenly spaced moving up stream. Sean was not sure at first what was going on and finally I saw them come into view. It was interesting, when the last goose passed me, there was an audible sound made to let the leader know all had passed safely. Sean had an excellent night of 50+ trout for himself. Sean left Taneycomo at 5 AM. I met John Taylor in the parking lot at 5 AM. We drove to the other side fishing the Rocking Chair Hole. The conditions were more difficult with no current, bright clear sky with no wind. This was John's introductions to Ozark fishing.

Tight lines… Kim

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Night Fishing Taneycomo

June 21: Night Fishing Taneycomo

Sean and I left Springfield at 11 PM and drove to Taneycomo to fish the waters near the Shepherd of the hills hatchery. The lake level has finally stabilized allowing the Army Corps of engineers to turn the water off during the night. We arrived before midnight with seven vehicles in the parking lot. Two vehicles left before we were in the water. We fished between #1 and #2 outlets. Sean’s first trout of the night was a twenty-four inch rainbow. My largest trout for the night was twenty-two inches. The trout were in excellent condition and fought hard. There was a fog covering the lake with plenty of clothes needed to keep warm. We caught a combined 55+ trout for five hours of fishing with several in the 16-20 inch range. This was an A+ night of fishing. For people who know me, I am sure they know the fly that worked this night.

May and June Road trips

Late May and June, I had little time for fishing and spent considerable time driving down the highway to several destinations; Lake Charles, New Orleans, Mountain Home and Lake of the Ozarks.

May 15-19: New Orleans and Lake Charles
New Orleans and Lake Charles were a combination trip with my wife and son staying in the New Orleans for the weekend as I traveled west on I-10 to Lake Charles. The Gulf Coast Council had their third annual conclave at the Lake Charles civil center located downtown near the lake. It was an outstanding facility with the plenty of space and classrooms for seminars. I saw familiar faces from past Southern Council conclaves and rekindled friendships with old and new acquaintances. I had a short visit with Bob Talbert; I have known Bob for a few years and enjoy his stories and humor. Bob introduced Rusty and Carol Dunn from Lafayette LA to me, what a treat. Both have studied and passed their CCI. They spent considerable time on the road to fishing destinations through out the United States in their camper. I stayed two nights at a near by hotel. I attended the conclave Friday night, Saturday and Sunday morning. I spent the entire day on Saturday tying flies and had the opportunity to attend a few seminaries on Sunday. Sunday afternoon I drove back to New Orleans to spend a few days site seeing New Orleans with Ann, my wife and son (Sean).

June 3, 4, 5: Eleven Point River
Jim and I left Springfield early Wednesday morning driving Hwy 60 east through fog and several rain showers. The raindrops on the windshield reminded us of last year fishing and camping trip on North Fork enduring three days of rain. After several hours of driving, we pulled into Greer Federal campgrounds on the Eleven Point River. The sun broke through as we set camp and pitched tents. An hour later, we placed a canoe into the water and spent the rest of the day fishing. We caught a few trout on favorite stretches of water with Jim catching a glimpse of a panic deer swimming across the river to escape dogs running its trail. I had a close encounter with a cottonmouth snake. I was walking the edge the stream along a boggy bottom in tall grass when a tail of the wary and camouflaged serpent was spotted near my boot. I stopped and remain motionless until his head was seen. He was positioned with his white opened mouth and fangs directed toward me. I immediately did a hop and skip in the opposite direction with Jim watching my dance to escape a possible strike; he is probably still laughing. We fished until 5 PM with Sean shuttling us back to camp from Turner’s Mill.

That evening, Jim and his son (Jake) prepared a steak and potato dinner; it was outstanding. We finished the evening around a campfire and retired after 10 PM.

The next morning, we ate a hearty breakfast. Jerry Richard came by to drop off a canoe for Jim and Jake. We fished the entire day with a few trout caught and released. It was almost noon went I looked upstream and saw another deer swimming midstream towards us. The deer finally found it’s footing and stood next to one of our canoes were the young deer surveyed the situation for a few minutes before entering the thicket and out of sight. We fished until 6 PM and shuttled back to the Greer campsite. That evening we had fried white bass for supper. As night fell on us, we stoked our campfire with vegetable oil since the wood was wet and listen to the sounds of night.

Friday morning, we decided to break camp. Jim and Jake decided to drive back to Springfield by way of Alley Spring and possibly Montauk State Park to fish. Sean had to get back to Springfield to take care of some business. I made plans to attend a fly-casting and instructors school in Cotter AR for the weekend. We took out time breaking camp. Jim and Jake left by 10 AM. Sean and I left before 11 AM. I followed Sean to Mansfield where I turned south on Hwy 5 to Mountain Home and Sean continued to Springfield.

June 5, 6 7: Mountain Home AR 2009 Fly-casting and Instructors School
I attended the 2009 Fly-casting and Instructors School which was located at Fulton’s Lodge on the White River near Cotter. This is a small lodge on the White River, close to Wildcat Shoals. Chuck Easterling and Bill Gammel have been instrumental to the development and inspiration to additional education opportunities for the CCI’s and MCCI’s in the southern region. It is to their credit that the opportunities to advance our casting and teaching abilities have lead forward by their example and time.

The focus of the school was on two-handed casting. The guest instructors were Al Buhr and Bob Middo. Al is an extremely well known two-handed instructor and instrumental in establishing the standards for the THCI. The respect for Al’s ability is evidenced by the demand for his instruction and testing expertise not only in North American but also in Europe and Asia. I had some time to listen to Al’s tell stories of his camping and fishing adventures in his home state of Oregon. The best story was his sitting in his campsite, after sunset in front of a campfire. When a young cougar came along, entered his site and sat across from him. Al decided to act big and loud to scare the cat away; only to have the cat lay back his ears and snarls at the aggressive act. Al retreated to his tent shaking like a young pup. One can only appreciate the story with Al giving every detail with emotion and suspense. Good stuff!

Bob Middo is a MCCI, THCI, a long-standing member of the Long Beach Casting Club, and serves on the Casting Board of Governors and the THCI Committee. Bob is the salt-water guy going for strippers and tuna. Bob is a very gifted caster and fun to be around.

Both instructors were exceptional and provide the foundation for improvement to better casting and introduction to the two-handed rod. These classes also focused on the practical application of a long rod which will included “beach casting” (saltwater), use on tail waters (species other than salmon and steelhead) and the use and advantages of switch rods.

If you have an opportunity to meet or better yet get some instruction from one of these fine gentlemen, you will be in for a real treat.

June 12, 13, 14 Women in Nature
Rod Pennington, Kevin Smith and I returned to Windermere Resort as members of the instructor staff for the Discover Nature Women Summer Workshop. There were 82 participants at this year event. We taught three sessions of fly tying with an introduction to in stream macro-invertebrate. Kevin Lohraff is the Outdoor Skills Education Coordinator from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

A big “Thank you” to all of you for teaching Fly Tying at our DNW event last weekend. I appreciate you giving your time, energy, and expertise to our participants. I saw many smiles and heard many positive comments, and women expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to learn a new outdoor skill. I realize you took time from your family, friends, and yourself in order to teach your courses, and I just wanted you to know I appreciate everything you did to make the event successful. Thanks, Rod, for sending your awesome bear photos. Bears remind us that we people are not so crazy to go to such great lengths to get those fish! Thanks, Kevin, for promoting our event and for recruiting your family. I really hope they enjoyed it. Thanks, Kim, for letting me tangle up your spey rod and for giving me the fly. I loved our fishing time together. I will send you copies of your course evaluations soon.

Thanks again!
Kevin M. Lohraff
Outdoor Skills Education Coordinator
Missouri Department of Conservation

May White Bass fishing

May 4-6, 2009: Sean and I had planned to camp and fish with Kevin Smith and others on the Little Red River, a tail-water below Greer Ferry Lake in Arkansas. But with a six-inch rainfall that weekend in Arkansas, I called and canceled on Sunday afternoon. I have a problem starting a campout in the rain. The streams were high, so I spent May 4th in the garden and mowing the yard. Many of the streams had peaked from the weekend rain but continue to be too high to fish: the Little Sac peaked at 11.5 ft on Saturday and still at 7.0 ft on Monday. It was too much water for me to paddle against. So, my next plan was to return to Bull Shoals Lake and fish below Power Site Dam.

Here is the site to view the Little Sac River real-time data:

Here is the site to view the Bull Shoals Lake below Power Site Dam real-time data:

Bull Shoals Lake has been on the rise since the beginning of April here are some levels on several fishing trips.

Bull Shoals Lake levels
4/07/09 653.2 ft and rising
4/14/09 654.2 ft and rising
4/19/09 655.6 ft and continues to rise
5/6/09 662.0 ft and continues to rise almost nine feet!

May 5: White Bass Pot Hole
Sean and I left Springfield for Forsyth to fish Bulls Shoals Lake. It was overcast and it rained most of the day. We took to the water in a kayak and canoe with oars. Sean picked up several white bass in the 14-16 inch range with many of the fish on the small side released. We fished in the boats tied to trees fishing to the brush that is mostly submerged.

May 6: White Bass Pot Hole
We returned to Bull Shoals Lake (Pot Hole). It was a sunny day with a few clouds. The gate on power site dam was opened with the current heaver then the day before. The lake is on the rise! We caught twenty white bass and a large mouth, and a crappie

May 10: (Mother’s Day) White Bass Little Sac River
It was to be the last trip for spring white bass. Sean and I took the canoe and kayak to Little Sac River near Morrisville near the Taylor Bridge. The water was high and dingy. We took the water crafts upstream to the power lines. The river conditions: Little Sac 4.4 ft Stockton Lake 872.2 ft
Sean had made a promise of fresh fish for a dinner date the next day, so the pressure was on to find fish. We did find a few fish in small pockets of water since the stream was running fast and high. Several of the white bass were over sixteen inches and we managed to pack out a dozen.

Monday, April 20, 2009

April fishing in Southwest Missouri

April fishing trips in southwest Missouri

I took a week off from work (April 6-12) to fish with Sean (son) and Mel (cousin) from Kalamazoo Michigan. Mel traveled to the Ozarks a few years ago to fish with me for white bass. He missed the white bass run due to being too early and low water conditions. We were all hoping for a better week of fishing for white bass.

A few days before Mel’s departure from Michigan, I called to warn him of a cold weather front predicted for the time he was to stay in Missouri. I was not worried if we would get out to fish but if the white bass were ready to bite.

April 6: We did not get out to fish. We stayed inside since it was too cold to fish for white bass, so we tied flies and caught up on family gossip.

April 7: It was a sunny cool day and comfortable in the afternoon. We drove to Bull Shoals to fish the Pot Hole. The water had been running through Table Rock Dam consistently for the past several days. The water was flowing over Power Site Dam. We started on the river run side of the Pot Hole, fishing up to the dam. One sixteen-inch smallmouth bass was taken, three white bass and a large-mouth bass. Mel caught two trout and a large-mouth bass. The osprey was out and about with several vultures catching the up drafts.

April 8: We returned to the Bull Shoals to fish the Pot Hole. A walleye on caught on the first cast of the day; a large mouth bass was released later in the day. We caught and returned five white bass.

April 9: There was threat of thunderstorms and it rain sporadically throughout the day. Mel, Sean and I started the day at Beaver Creek. The stream was silt choked from last year floods and severe erosion of the banks. We managed eleven blue gills, two white bass from the creek, and then the rain came in. We left the creek near the maiden hole slipping and sliding from the greasy mud and we were fortunate to get out without getting stuck. We returned to the pothole were we picked up a large mouth bass and two walleye with the largest measuring 24 inches. We finished the day at mouth of swan creek were we pick up another walleye and several white bass.

April 10: We fished the pothole in the afternoon; there were several fishermen on banks with boats moving about. We picked up two small-mouth bass (one was 16 inches), one large-mouth and two white bass. We moved back to the section above swan creek. Mel picked up a 24 inch walleye and I picked up four more white bass with one measuring seventeen inches.

April 12: Mel left on Saturday and we had a family get together that afternoon. So, we passed up fishing on Saturday. Sean and I returned Sunday afternoon; it had rain most of the afternoon. We caught seven walleye with the keepers being 22, 21, 20 inches. We caught seven white bass with a size range of 14-17 inches. Two 16-inch smallmouth bass and seven smaller ones released in addition to several small large mouth bass returned to the water. It was a cool and drizzle day with very few people fishing.

April 16: Sean and I returned to Bull shoals. The water was overflowing the dam with a good current in the Pothole. The lake level has been on the rise. We fished at different locations and picked up four walleye, four white bass, a crappie, a trout, and a large-mouth bass. We left Forsyth at 5 PM, there was a MSU class at evening and we had to leave before class started at 6 PM. I did make it in time for class with two minutes to spare.

I am finishing up this fishing log 4/19/2009. It should be noted the Springfield area had a 1.5-inch rainfall, which will raise the streams and promote the fish to run. Below are some links I use to monitor the lakes and rivers levels.

Bull Shoals Lake levels (4/07 653.2 ft) and rising (4/14 654.2 ft) and rising (4/19 655.6 ft)

April 21, 2009: Ralph Eichholz, Sean and I drove to Beaver Creek and started at Kissee Mill Park on Hwy 160. We fished above the bridge and found a few small white bass, small-mouth bass, quillback carp sucker and bluegill.

We picked up white bass from the 160 Bridge at the park to the Big Rock Hole. The lake level in Bull shoals (656.4 ft) continue to raise. With the recent rains, the rivers and creeks had a small rise and now falling; Beaver creek was at 4.2ft. This small rise will facilitate the spring run of fish.

I saw an osprey make several trips with fish in its clutches. On one of these trips, I saw an eagle dive bomb the osprey, leaving the osprey its only option; drop the fish. The fish fell to the water; the eagle swooped to the water to retrieve the fish making for an easy meal with the osprey flying off in a panic. I did see the osprey later that evening clasping another fish.

April 23: Sean and I left Springfield at 7 AM and drove to Morrisville to fish the Little Sac River. There were a dozen or more fishermen on the banks and several boats motoring upstream to the area near the power-line hole. We found white bass at the first stop and continued to hook up fish while we worked our way up stream. The place Paul use to call the Walleye Hole had several fishermen it fishing and picking up fish. We managed a limit of white bass fishing in three hours of fishing before leaving Taylor Bridge; I had to be at work that afternoon.

Stockton Lake level 869.79 ft (4/23)

Little Sac level decreasing 3.9 ft (4/23) from (5.5ft 4/20)

April 25: I picked up Charlie Erickson Saturday morning at 6:30 AM. We drove to Bennett Spring State Park to help with the MSU class. There was plenty of help, so Charlie and I left Bennett Spring at 1:30 PM and took Hwy 32 to Bolivar and then Hwy 13 to Morrisville to fish the Little Sac. Sean was driving from Springfield and met us in Morrisville before taking to the stream to fish into dark. I parked at Taylor Bridge and rowed a canoe upstream to the Power line Hole. The Mount family was fishing from their kayaks moving upstream to the S curve. They found several spots were they caught white bass. I walked upstream from the barn to check out the stream, to see what has changed since last years flood. Some of the stretches were too deep to wade. Later, I found out my son tried to wade through one stretch and took water over his waders and he had to climb out on a steep, slippery bank as scrambling to higher ground to bypass the deep water. Later that evening, we saw the Collison brothers (Bill and Frank) fishing the Power line hole catching one white bass after another. We slipped around them and fished downstream. We caught two limits of white bass for the day. We had the opportunity to watch people do stupid things with their boats, like running over submerged rocks, hitting the prop and disabling the engine; then powering the boat back to Taylor Bridge with the electric motor.

Stockton Lake level 869.69 ft

Little Sac level 3.5 ft

April 26, 2009: Sean and I returned to the Little Sac River. We saw Terry Tanner, Charlie and Connie Erickson. Sean started below the power lines to fish the fast water and broke the tip off from his TF rod to a tree trying to retrieve a fly. He came back down stream to tell me the news and was ready to walk back to Taylor Bridge to get another rod from the truck. I switched rods with him and used the nine-foot rod minus eight inches. The rod was very stiff but able to deliver the fly with a little help from a double haul. We caught three limits of white bass and kept two limits for the up coming MTFA State derby. We hooked three carp, a largemouth bass, a small-mouth bass, and several bluegills. We left at 8 PM with clouds moving in that looked like a storm was moving in.

April 28, 2009: Charlie and Connie Erickson picked me up at 7:30 AM. We figured the Little Sac would be the best place to fish. The storms had moved through during the night with less than an inch of rainfall. The Little Sac did not get any run of and the level remained at 3.5 ft. We started below the Power line hole and had very little action. I did see an owl fly overhead with a rodent held tightly. It appeared to have a nest across the stream. I did see a pair at one time. Connie and Charlie walked the bank upstream to fish the walleye hole with several other fishermen. I walked upstream to the next gravel bar. I made a discovery. I left the fly in the water with 30 ft of line out. The rod was pointing down stream, under my arm as I walked upstream. I managed to pick up two white bass by leaving my fly in the water. I stopped fishing at 11:30 AM with seven white bass and one carp. I had to get back to Springfield before 1 PM to get in another day of work.

I am finish writing up these reports (4/28/09), knowing there is a significant rainfall predicted before Saturday, maybe three inches. This will change the streams with the quick rise of water; the fish will head to the banks, run upstream and all will change again. This will probably be the last trip for white bass for this spring. In May, I have trips lined up for the Red River in Arkansas, Roaring River State Park and the Gulf Coast conclave at lake Charles, Louisiana. I will get back to the blog next month with updates

Kim Schultz

417 883-5234